Research finds, two genetic analyses which explain the roles of Neanderthals in modern life. This extinct species of human influenced everything, from hair color to mental health. The study also suggests, they lived in small, isolated communities.
The earliest modern humans may have developed large social networks which facilitated the exchange of mates and ideas.
Scientists have pieced together, the sex lives of our human ancestors to explain, how genes were exchanged. The publication explains how humans survived while the close cousins died out.
Homo sapiens and Neanderthals shared a common ancestor half a million years ago. They split with humans in Africa and Neanderthal on the Eurasian continent. Humans ventured to Eurasia and mated with Neanderthals, swapping DNA around.
People who are not of African descendants, owe roughly two percent of their DNA to Neanderthals.
Previous studies have lined Neanderthal DNA to a wide range of health condition in modern-day individuals. These include depression, nicotine addiction, and skin disorders.
Scientists have also studied, which traits might have enabled humans to survive in Eurasia. This contains changes to skin and hair, or resistance to certain diseases.
Research also suggest, Neanderthals went extinct about 40,000 years ago while Homo sapiens survived. The alliance of humans with dogs helped man hunt better, outplaying the Neanderthals out of Europe.
“It is still one of those unsolved and really interesting questions. We were more successful because had better technology or it might have been just a consequences of pure numbers,” said Martin Sikora, a genetics at the University of Denmark.
According to the American Journal of Human Genetics, Neanderthal DNA contributed to hair and skin color. Some Neanderthals were associated with a blonder, paler complexions and others were with dark pigmentation.
Neanderthal DNA also influenced psychological and neurological traits such as being a ‘night owl’, reporting feelings of loneliness, depression, and smoking.
Joshua Schraiber, a geneticist at Temple University said, “Understanding our genetic past is useful for understanding the genetic present. It is important to understand and embrace the diversity of humans across the planet.”